Youth movement? Why the Blackhawks didn't re-sign Corey Crawford
Why the Blackhawks haven't re-signed Corey Crawford originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
A day before the 2020 NHL Free Agency, Blackhawk's GM Stan Bowman made important news when he announced that goalkeeper Corey Crawford would no longer be on the team for the next season. The two-time Stanley Cup champion was informed of the organization's decision on Thursday.
And immediately the city of Chicago wondered aloud: Why? Why aren't the Blackhawks bringing back a goalkeeper who was among the best in the NHL on the track? Who is one of four active goalkeepers with multiple Stanley Cups? Who showed that they can still do the No. 1 tasks and play at a high level?
Was it because the two sides did not see an extension at eye level? The fact that the Blackhawks are in a wage ceiling crisis and still have to re-sign players like Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome? Or was it because the Blackhawks just wanted to go in a different direction?
This is what Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman had to say when asked directly:
"I'd say it's more the direction we're going than anything," said Bowman. "It wasn't like it was a contentious discussion. We spent a lot of time talking about which direction was the right direction for us, and I think not only on our team, but you will be in this off-season Seeing a lot of different things compared to other years in the NHL, there is an impact across the league and there may not be every team, but many teams focus on finding young players who can take the next step and play a bigger role . This is really more of the direction we're going than anything else. "
It would be extremely difficult to start the 2020-21 season in tandem with unproven goalkeepers like Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen, a year after they had arguably the best duo in Crawford and Robin Lehner. They've reportedly been studying Darcy Kuemper and Matt Murray for the past few weeks, which shows that they are focused on strengthening that position in both the short and long term.
But the Blackhawks are prepared in one way or another for a youth movement at the finish.
"We have a couple of young goalkeepers in Lankinen and Delia that we didn't give them a very good chance," said Bowman. "The NHL is relying more and more on young players and we will adjust to that. We saw some really bright spots, especially in the playoffs. You saw Kirby [roof] take that next step. We think he's scratching only on the surface.
"We continue to offer younger players bigger opportunities and that is important to us. We spent a lot of time choosing it and we think this is the right move for us."
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